6 July 2013

Dili, Timor Leste


The news is erupting from the summit of a hill in Maloa on the western outskirts of Dili. Music and chat and stories stream outwards too, up into the mountains and the districts far beyond. The airwaves carry the voices of former freedom fighters, men like Xanana Gusmão and José Ramos Horta who helped birth this country when it was relinquished by the Indonesians 14 years ago, and the Portuguese before that. Radio Timor Kmanek – “beautiful” in native Tetum – overlooks a valley of bougainvillea and palm and banana trees that sweeps all the way down to the edge of the Banda Sea. Concrete houses are lodged in the floral abundance, their white-hot tin roofs pasted with clothes drying in the midday sun. Life is hard here, and fear still runs deep; but the sun is out, and the future waits.

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